Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bordeaux in Detail

*Warning: this is an unusually long post.

Prior to heading to Bordeaux I had some pre-birthday cocktails at my favorite bar in Paris. Somehow thanks to my girls Juliet, YM and Sarah we ended up getting a private tour of the hotel by to one of the owners. And if that wasn't enough there were complimentary rounds of piscines thanks to the owner's kindness and generoristy. Getting home late and full of champagne (I'm not one to turn down a free cocktail especially when they're going for 12€ a pop) I was afraid I would miss my 7AM train the following morning. Fortunately, that wasn't a problem and I made it right on time.

The 3 hour train ride was uneventful and passed fairly quickly as I used it as an opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep. Upon arriving in Bordeaux a friend picked us up at the gare and gave us a short guided tour of the city by car. After lunch, while my friend KD worked for a bit Kiki and I decided to take a free rickshaw ride. The driver told that his sole destination would be a mutuelle office on the other side of town and if we stayed for the sales pitch we would be offered a free gift. Not one to turn down a free gift and having nothing else better to do for the afternoon we hopped in. The driver must have found us charmer or possibly realized that he wouldn't have many other riders during the afternoon and offered to give us a tour of the city as well.

On Saturday we drove to check out Saint-Émillion which was absolutely gorgeous and picturesque despite the rainy and gray weather. Unfortunately, because we got a late start we didn't get to do any wine tastings altough we did have an enjoyable lunch. After and afternoon spent in Saint-Émillion we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the evening which included a Felipecha concert. It was my first time listening them and I must say that really enjoyed their live performance and I'd highly encourage you all to check them out. We all hung out after the concert and had an amazing time. At midnight my friends and the band started singing happy birthday to me which was quite embarassing. However, one of the bartenders heard the singing and offered each of us a yummy cannelets as a little gift.

On Sunday, after a late night we managed to get ourselves together and head to a vineyard in Barsac for a wine tasting. The region's specialty is a sweeter tasting Sauternes wine which, at first, I wasn't sure I would like. Turns out I really enjoyed the younger less sweet option that I tasted and ended up buying a few bottles. After our visit to the vineyard we headed back to Bordeaux to do some shopping at the outlet stores along the Quai des Marques and I scored some desperately needed new jeans. Sunday evening we took it easy and enjoyed a nice, relaxing dinner.

After 3 days of grey and gloomy skies, the sun reappeared on Monday in full forced. We used this opportunity to drive to Arcachon to visit la Dune de Pilat which is essentially a giant pile of sand. After laboriously trekking to the top we were rewarded with the most stunning views of the bay. After a short rest at the top to take it all in and enjoy the sun, we climbed back down, grabbed some lunch then drove back to the gare in Bordeaux.

All in all if was a fabulous weekend and I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my birthday.


David said...

I miss Bordeaux... And I'm glad you enjoyed it...

(btw, sorry to correct you, especially after the previous post, but it's "Dune du Pyla" :-) )

wcs said...

Glad you made it to Arcachon and St.-Emilion! They're both cool places.

Um, and David, I'm breaking my rule for you. Jasmin is correct. It's Dune du Pilat. Pyla-sur-Mer is a town nearby, but it's Pilat Plage and Dune du Pilat.

Unless, of course, Michelin's got it wrong, too.

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

David and Walt: I really loved Bordeaux and the surrounding areas and hope to go back soon but not before making it to the Loire Valley.

In an effort to thwart any debate regarding the official name of the dunes the signs on the way to Arcachon listed the names as both "Dune du Pilat" AND "Dune du Pyla".

wcs said...

Ah, you should have been a diplomat!

Anonymous said...

I've read your postings and I am happy for you. I live in CA and I plan to live in France too. It's kind of difficult because I have 2 little girls, but I want to expose them to the life there too as well as the school system. I work in education too.
Are you planning to stay longer there or you will be back in US?
I lived in NYC too and I like your writing. Best wishes to you! Mike

Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

I am so happy you had a wonderful 42nd birthday! Next year we are going to rent out Big Mama's house and get you table dancers.